Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 13: 2-4

September 14, 2021

™kṣetrajñaṁ cā ’pi māṁ viddhi sarvakṣetreṣu bhārata
kṣetrakṣetrajñayor jñānaṁ yat taj jñānaṁ mataṁ mama (XIII-2)
tat kṣetraṁ yac ca yādṛk ca yadvikāri yataś ca yat
sa ca yo yatprabhāvaś ca tat samāsena me śṛṇu  (XIII-3
ṛṣibhir bahudhā gītaṁ chandobhir vividhaiḥ pṛthak
brahmasūtrapadaiś cai ’va hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ (XIII-4)

XIII/2. Do thou also know me as the knower of the field in all fields,
O Arjuna. Knowledge of both the field and the knower
of the field is considered by me to be true knowledge.

XIII/3. What the field is and of what nature, what its modifications
areand whence it is, and also who he is and what his powers
are– hear all that from me in brief.

XIII/4. Sages have sung in many ways, in various distinctive chants
and also in the suggestive words indicative of the absolute,
full of reasoning and decisive.

Swamiji's Commentary

     Please remember that God is the soul of all beings. He is the sole reality, the cosmic consciousness which, by virtue of its all-pervasiveness, is the substratum for the individualized consciousness, too, though its true nature is veiled by ignorance. Whether you take the whole universe as one entity, the macrocosm, and accept the Lord as the knower of this mighty field, or you believe that this universe is composed of millions upon millions of beings, each of them being an independent field, God is the knower of them (or it).

     Knowledge of exclusively either (the field or its knower) is incomplete; knowledge of both is true knowledge. As long as diversity is visible to our eyes and as long as the mind thinks in terms of diversity, it will be impossible for it to conceive of another reality; it cannot see what it sees as reality to be unreal. Therefore, the reality can only be established by ceaseless investigation. It is true that from the point of view of the absolute, this diversity does not exist as diversity; that is not because the absolute is ex-clusive of ‘all these’ but because it includes and transcends them. A knowledge of the absolute can be had, therefore, only by acquiring an integral knowledge of the matter and the spirit, and then transcending them by God’s grace. Hence the Īśāvāsya upaniṣad commands man to acquire a knowledge of both ‘knowledge and ignorance’. When he tries to understand matter, it is suddenly transformed into spirit and the veil is lifted.

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